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Plan. Prepare. Stay Informed.

Flooded road
Flooding on the corner of Riley and Moores Hill Rd looking towards rte. 207 Eastbound, New Windsor.
Photo courtesy: Paul Polischuk, Orange County :: ARES, RACES, SKYWARN.

Many dangers still exist, following the aftermath of a flood. Important things to keep in mind:

  • Use local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert informed advice as soon as available.
  • Avoid moving water.
  • Stay away from damaged areas unless your assistance has been specifically requested by police, fire, emergency management, or a relief organization.
  • Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. The best way you can help them is by staying off the roads and out of the way. You may be able to help or volunteer through a local program or relief organization
  • Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings and information. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. For your safety find a safer, clear route if possible.
  • If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded. Stay on firm ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways. Flood debris may hide items that may cause injury, and its also slippery.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations and general structure.

Staying Healthy
A flood can cause physical hazards and emotional stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleanup and repair.

Keep in mind that after a flood the water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. It is best to service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewer systems are serious health hazards. Listen for news reports to learn whether the communitys water supply is safe to drink and if there are boil water advisories. Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals. Please remember to rest often and eat well. Keep a manageable schedule to reduce strain and stress. Make a list and do jobs one at a time. This is effectively managing your resources and energy by taking baby steps. Discuss your concerns with others and seek help.

Cleaning Up and Repairing Your Home:

  • Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.
  • You can ask for a guide on how to repair your flooded home, available from the Cornwall emergency manager. It will include tips and guidance on: how to enter your home safely, how to protect your home and belongings from further damage, how to record damage to support insurance claims and requests for assistance, how to check for gas or water leaks and how to have service restored, how to clean up appliances, furniture, floors and other belongings. Additionally The Red Cross can provide you with a cleanup kit: mop, broom, bucket, and cleaning supplies.
  • Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government or other organizations.
  • If you decide to hire cleanup or repair contractors, check references and be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Often times these are scams.

Page Updated: 2014-09-17 10:13:11